Manchester United’s 76,000 seat Old Trafford stadium has been evacuated this afternoon, and their match against Bournemouth cancelled after a “device” was found.
Players were taken off the pitch during their pre-game warm-ups, and spectators were asked to leave the stands while the authorities dealt with a “explosive device” left in the north-west part of the stadium. A controlled explosion was performed on the object an hour and a half after the match was due to start, at approximately 1630.
Reports initially suggested the match would be delayed by 45 minutes while the package was investigated, but the match was called off completely after police units and sniffer dogs were deployed to the stadium.
Police later announced that the suspicious package was in fact a device, and they were conducting a deep search of the whole stadium after the threat.
Full assessment now concluded and found device wasn’t viable. A full search of the stadium is ongoing. Full update to follow.
— G M Police (@gmpolice) May 15, 2016
Update – Greater Manchester Police says an explosion was carried out on an "incredibly lifelike explosive device" at Old Trafford
— Sky News Newsdesk (@SkyNewsBreak) May 15, 2016
Supporters from the home Sir Alex Fergusson Stand and the Stretford End stand were moved. Away supporters were not initially moved, after an announcement instructed stadium staff to put in place “operation red code”, reports the BBC.
Manchester United Football Club said: “Due to the discovery of a suspect package in the north-west quadrant of the ground, the match has been abandoned for today on police advice.
“People in the stadium are advised to remain in their seats while the forecourt is cleared of fans evacuated from the stadium. Further announcements will be made as soon as possible.”
— Conor McNamara (@ConorMcNamaraIE) May 15, 2016